Sunday, April 27, 2008

just say no to "discounted" massage

In the last several days, I got two phone calls from people from the continental USA who wanted a discount on their massages because I was going to be there for several massages. I gave them 5$ off. They asked for more.

I simply said no. If they want a good massage, then they should pay for the quality. My education costs a lot of money - each class is 4-5 days of lost income because I cannot work during that time, plus about 800$ just for the class... Even a simple weekend class is at least $350. So - if you want good massage, you need a trained therapist, and that costs money...

I could have said: sure, I will just work for less time, maybe 45 mins instead of 60 minutes. Is that ok? And then they could have decided what to do. I didn't do that, though, and that woman will not call back. Fine. She can find someone else to rip off. I wonder if she bargained with the restaurants, with vacation rental place, with the car rental place, etc.?

What are they thinking? One woman said that she just came back from Mexico and paid $45 for massage there, so that's what she wants to pay here. Good luck... They are renting 800$ per night vacation rentals on the beach, and they have no trouble with that; they are paying for restaurants, clothes, etc., they would pay to a chirporactor or a medical doctor, but they cannot pay for a massage?

It's the matter of priorities, don't you think?

For me, if someone wants my service, I will do a good service, and I expect a good pay. As simple as that. There is a certain dignity about it.

Also, people think I am some kind of a spa... People from the continental USA are used to commercialism and many cannot tell what is real and what isn't. Those who have problems that needed fixing probably tried various options and concluded what works, and will go to a "hole in the wall" for a good massage, and will pay for it honestly.

The trick is the massage, not the environment. Of course, the environment needs to be nice. But the massage therapist is the main ingredient. A tourist woman asked me over the phone to tell her more about my facility. I told her that it is a hole in the wall with a super good massage!
Obviously, she does not get massages and has no clue what she is shopping for. I didn't do a good job of educating her, though :)

Those who have no clue will go to a spa and pay 150$ for a spa massage, known as "rubbing lotion in." It's not a therapeutic massage, and often, not even relaxing because it doesn't feel right. But - some people cannot tell! Or they need the experience of ravishing in the luxury. So they go there. Fine. Some mediocre massage therapists need to make a living. Spas employ those who are not good enough and/or do not know business and thus cannot make a living on their own.


Friday, April 25, 2008

I am diving in

This is a message I sent to a friend of mine who used to belong and still goes to a very fundamentalist Christian church, and yet has started a whole series of Native classes which include shamanic journeying.

Do you understand: you have already made some steps on a Path, reached a fork in the road, and cannot go back now. You cannot have your old Church bsing and this new life of being alive and aware. It is not possible. You will have to leave your ENTIRE old life. You cannot go back and sit in that dogmatic church and "train in bsing". Every minute there is putting yourself back into prison of your small mind. That church has a little bit of truth to reel you in, and then lays it heavy into being asleep.

Also, you are leaving the Native program as well. Doing those "under the tree" shamanic trips and all that is another form of "church", fooling around with the Sacred. That school is yet another stepping stone, a whole bunch of useful awareness tools and practices, but not a Mystery School.

What you Asked for is to Become an Initiate, and for that, you will have to dive in stark naked, like Beowolf.

For that, there is no external box that you can put yourself into and identify yourself with. It is scary.
You meet yourself as you really are and you actually live your life from that.

How I can help everything is by me jumping in for myself. This whole email was just to make me see what *I* need to do. It was an email to myself.

There are no answers, only questions.

I am diving in.

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

gratitude and thanksgiving

Yoganada deswcribes spiritual laws of abundance as based on THANSKGIVING AND GRATITUDE.

He says that Universe always fills in channels that are open. We show we are open by prayer, appreciation, gratitude, thanksgiving.

Most people are like beggars to God: oh, God, please give me a new car! an easy job! a better mate! make me look good! make me rich! make me healthy! and so on.... We just beg beg beg. Which is kinda ok when we are in trouble, isn't it :) But we are not 100% in trouble for 100% of time. There are moments, always, which are precious.

Can we remember to also give thanks for what we have?

This is one thing that I learned in the USA. When my parents were visiting here, it was obvious that they very very seldom gave thanks. They mostly complained, critized, and demanded. Moments of gratitude were there, like my father smelling the flowers on the way from the beach. Those moments increased as they stayed here longer. Something changed...

To me, gratitude was something I had to learn as an adult. It is a Native American custom, and spiritual custom, and it took me a long time to stop complaining only. Perhaps because now I live the life I love, it is easier, and perhaps that life came because I was thankful and appreciative and led to make decisions based on LOVE. I love Hawaii, the Ocean, healing work,... It is a very deep love and I have no shame about it, I just go for it. When you love like that, then things happen.

Can we dare to love what we love?

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Saturday, April 19, 2008

clients with more issues than usual

Ok, so I am a lomilomi practitioner, and whoever comes to me for help - needs help. I deal with cranky injured people in pain, tired and snappy preganant ladies, overstressed workers, happy relaxed people on vacation burned to the crisp and then saltied up, and everything in between.

Everyone has some issues. Some people have more issues than usual. Those show up rarely and one wonders what's going on. This week my ex-boyfriend is (unsuccessfully) trying to come back, so perhaps I am miffed and attracting some types that I usually would never even meet.

This week, two cases of unusual clients:
Case 1: a middle-age gentleman made an appointment for his wife. It was their anniversary. So, they went horse back riding, then ate lunch, then showed up in my office. It was hot outside. I asked them if they were thirsty and gave them some water and we chatted a little. The neighborhood dog barked and one of the neighbors yelled hi at someone across the street, JUST as we were sitting. She said he pays the bills and she stays home and is on her feet a lot. I asked her about injuries or pain? She said: none. But then looked and her husband and asked him what he thought, if she had any pain?
He was looking around, at my picture of Paramahansa Yogananda, asking me where my accent was from. He mumbled something in answer to his wife and then asked her if she would be comfortable getting a massage here, dog barking, etc.?
She said yes, why? it is nice and breezy, the music is nice,...
He said more loudly and sternly: but would you be comfortable?
She picked his hint and jumped in: well, my stomach is full, we just ate, that's the only thing...
I said: well, if you want to do something else, that's fine with me. Since you made an appoitnment without knowing me, I won't take it personally. Talk about it and let me know.
So I went out of the room and they talked, and then HE said that her stomach was too full and she would rather leave. As she was leaving, she was saying: well, in one hour I'd take you up on it... And I was thinking: wow, you still want me to think you are so nice? I don't think so.
They left me some change (because *I said they took my time) and left.

This is the first time something like this ever happened to me.
Later I thought: EVERYTHING about MY WORK is on that web site, and he spoke with me over the phone several times. Yes, the neighborhood dog and a small office is not on the web site. So, if someone cannot stand my small office and picture of Paramahansa Yogananda and occasional bark, then.... Then they are not supposed to be here! I must say that as soon as they left, the neighborhood became quiet, which is typical.

So, should I have said to them: pay 65$ and feel free to leave any time, since you are cancelling at the last minute.

They didn't really inconvenience me too much because I had clients just before them, so it was ok, I didn't have to make a special trip.

However, as a healer, maybe I should have, because that teaches them responsibility and taking care of others. The husband saw my web site and talked with me over the phone several times.

As my business grows, I will have to be much more strict and deal with such rudes very sternly. That's the only way. Being polite and firm.

On the other hand, everyone gets what they need. They got as much healing as they could handle. it was a miniature healing session, where they could see themselves.

She said he pays the bills and she stays home. He looked, behaved and talked like a control freak. Something was strange about his eyes. They were ... hm? slanted and mean. I don't know if he felt me not really liking him, and that made him bail. I don't know. It felt as if sitting there sipping the glass of water I gave them made him unconfortable, as if this small act of kindness was ruining some strange belief they, esp. he, had. Also, it definitely felt as if the woman was on his strings. Whatever he said, she did.

On my end, I need to be much more careful about people like these and make sure that I protect my interests. If they went to lunch just before massage, and still showed up for massage, that's their problem.... They are still obliged to pay me for that hour. However, if they show up and say they don't like my office, they are free to walk away. I also can refuse to treat anyone I am not comfortable with. It goes both ways...

Case 2: this happened earlier in the week. A hotel gave my number to their guest. He called, then cancelled, then called again literally on 45min notice. I did have (only) that hour free, so I rushed to get there, skipping lunch. He said he needed maintenance massage, nothing to fix, but his lower back was bothering him. Then he said he doesn't need his arms or neck massaged. That's the first warning sign... So - I massaged his back, legs, paying attention to lower back, then flipped him over, worked on legs, and then some chest and shoulders and ended doing cranio-sacral therapy on the head.

He was very relaxed and asleep at the end. He got up, said I really worked his lower back well. Then he said that the "last 15 mins of massage were useless, it is relaxing to work on the chest and head but it doesn't do anything, the time should have been spent on the legs and back." He gave me a "friendly suggestion" to skip those parts in the future, they are "irrelevant."
???? Then he said that "in his youth he did massages and in his hands felt like he did a good job."
I said: I kept on asking you how you were doing, why didn't you tell me that you needed more on your legs? I also explained the muscular structure, how the chest needs to widen in order for the neck to fit in, how the neck muscles go all the way to the lower back, how the tense liver points between the ribs raised his shoulder tops, etc. He just looked at me in amazement and muttered: yes, back muscles are pretty big...
In myself, I thought: and you claim you have massages once per month and cannot communicate your preferences??? and how could you even possibly estimate the time correctly, being half asleep? In fact, I worked on the last parts for 10 mins and the last 5 mins of that was OVERTIME. You don't appreciate me going an extra mile? And certainly not the fact that your lower back feels better although I had to be totally inventive and make it happen without working on your neck??? And, you have no idea about massage but feel free to tell me what to do? How do you know people liked your massage back then? and other thoughts went through my head as it became clear to me I was dealing with a total asleep, ignorant person. He didn't give me any tip, and as he was giving me the money he repeated that the last 15 mins was useless. I said bye, have a nice day, and left quickly.

In conclusion: everyone who needs therapeutic help has some issues. Everyone gets what the treatment they need. "Know it all" probably tells everyone what to do, and maybe I am one of the few if not the only one who actually spoke back. The "suspicious husband" correctly sensed that staying around Yogananda at al would have changed his life, and he refused, but at least he got to see himself and his wife in action.

There is no telling what the healing will do. As I said, I am not a massage therapist, but much more than that, massage is just one part of what I do. It is impossible to tell what shape the healing will take, because it is not in my hands, but God's. In any case:


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Monday, April 7, 2008

various cultural trainings

This weekend I stopped at the sarong/jewelery/etc local shop, held by a Lebanese man. The shop is very successful, he has very nice and unusual items for sale, and is a master of picking the right colors/designs for you. Women send him money and ask him to send them something that would fit them. He is that good.

Anyways, what makes the shop special is that man. Because he is so warm, welcoming, friendly, including everyone into the circle. He is like a sunschine that radiates warmth and welcome. There is some intangible quality that says: HI! I am so glad to see you! Isn't it wonderful to be here together, to be alive! Let's celebrate! Let's talk, let's be together! He is into singing and playing guitar, so he does that for his customers. People love it! He has about 400 people who signed up to buy his CD, and has been invited (all expenses paid) to sing in Alaska, New York, etc. even before his CD is out. Not to mention all the celebrities that stop by and drop their business card.

This sunshiney, welcoming, throw-the-red-carpet quality is a gift to everyone. It is very middle eastern. I know, I am from around there. Enjoying life and being family-like, personable and openly welcoming to everyone is very middle eastern.

The next day I went into African American community. I will say "black" although it is not black - it is anywhere from latte beige to nice oatmeal golden to dark coffee brown. Well, there might be one who is almost black. So far I have seen only one person who was truly black. Anyways, it is how they feel on the inside, not what they look like.

And boy, how do they feel! That community is not welcoming or friendly. They are very sensitive and standoffish and show offs. In some ways I am their customer too, because I pay them for classes. However, their attitude is: I am better than you and you are in my class for me to show it, so kiss up to me or shut up. Gosh, that doesn't feel good at all. Only a die-hard for the class will hang out. Their approach is based on showing off. If they somehow figure you are "weak" then they kick you. If you stand strong, then they stay away. I often have a desire to bail out of there, it feels so unpleasant. I wonder why am I there and if there is a better place for such classes.

The true Africa is very smiley and warm and friendly. Happy. Africans have something which is genuinely happy, deep inside, in a very light, warm way.

These are all stereotypes in some ways and there is much more to be said about bad and good of each culture (e.g. middle-easterners can get very proud and chop you up, African-Americans can be very fun loving and are usually good friends to each other).

These cultural traits are prevalent in the cultures and we are trained in them as we grow up. Everyone knows about East European melancholy, Japanese inscrutability, French eating, and so on. Those traits are true, to one degree or another. Want it or not, we have it. Good luck in dealing with it :)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Being in the NOW

My friend has a bad habit of bailing out on his friends, and particularly girlfriends. Obviously, it is hard for him to keep a relationship going, right? So, he'd like to change it.

So, what does he do? Carefully monitors himself to catch when his "bailer" comes out, and then tries to squish it.

Will it work?

No. When we try to "squish" something it never gets squished, it just keeps on growing. We feed the monster.

The way to go is to just OBSERVE it. Without any attempt to change it. Just watch it. Carefully, atentively, neutrally. Just be cool and watch it.

That will diminish it.

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healing tips: issues in the tissues

Hawaiian salt can be used to melt tight connective tissue.

However, there are reasons connective tissue is tight. If it weren't an accident (and there are no accidents anyways), it is due to emotional/spiritual/mental issues. Even accidents are due to spiritual issues. We think of something and are not fully present, and then accidents happen.

So, when we start healing the tissue, the issues come up. The issues are in the tissues!

If the person is not ready to heal the "issues", then there can be no progress on the physical front. Period.

The other way holds true too: if a person has non-physical issues and is in, say, therapy, and is willing and able to "talk it" and feel it but still not much progress, then the body needs to be worked on in order to help release the non-physical. They are related...

One client I haD is an older divorced woman who lives with her mother. The client has so many physical issues - obesity, arthritis, hernia, blot clots, .... the list goes on! One of the things is the terribly flat feet, plus a job that requires standing. She came to me not because she picked me, but because something major happened and doctor prescribed her massage and gave her my number.

I asked her to get orthotics, so that the feet can be supported. She beligerantly said no. She tried it and it hurts. I said how about SAS shoes then? They are soft and have orthotics, they are for diabetics. She didn't say anything, but cancelled her next appointment and rescheduled. Then she cancelled again and didn't reschedule. Then I called her to ask her how she is doing and she said she is fine.

That's it. Sometimes, some people do not want to go any further. They might be too damaged, you might not have the "thing" that will help to motivate them to get better (whatever it is! Sometimes it is just plain sex appeal. If they like you, they will be encouraged to get better.) Maybe you don't have the technical skill to help them. Maybe you push them too much too soon. Maybe you don't really have a loving vibe towards them and they feel it. And so on.
The healing practitioner needs to ask questions as to what is really going on.

In any case, this woman got from me what she needed: some chinese herbal tincture that helps arthritis and bruises. Everyone gets whatever they need, and when they are done, they leave.

I said to my child friend: Good night, ______(name). The Stars are over the Ocean.
She came again to say good night again :) She likes the magic.

Children are very perceptive and whole and we need to learn from them. Their freedom is what gives them that endless energy and health.

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